Monday, February 23, 2015

A fantastic week in Spain

Hello everyone!!!! This week was great, just like every week here in the mission. Time is flying by SUPER fast. This coming week is the last week of my first transfer out in the field. The days, weeks, and months go by super fast out here. I love seeing pictures from everyone and seeing the change in everyone already. It´s hard to imagine what it´s going to be like when I return home. This week was full of miracles.
On Tuesday I went to Sevilla for intercambios with the Sister Training Leaders. I was with Hermana Birnbaumer and she´s from Bolivia. She was a really great companion for the day. Their area is a pueblo called Dos Hermanas(kind of ironic), and it´s really clean and pretty. Huelva is a bit more dirty and bigger, but I still love Huelva. One of the best experiences was that we went looking for someone and then ended up going into someone else´s home and teaching her a little bit and we asked her to be baptized and she said yes! Even though it´s not in my area and I won´t be working with her, it´s still really exciting! It was a really long two days that was just really crazy. I traveled a lot, which is really exhausting.
We received a couple new investigators this week. We went and taught these two sweet elderly ladies that my companion had contacting during intercambios with the other Hermana.
These two ladies are sisters, M and T, and T has a little mental problem, but she is so sweet and pure. They need the gospel in their lives so much and they just need help. When we go to teach them, I just want to help them with everything that they might need. We even will probably end up helping them paint their house because it´s really dark in there and it´s really hard for them to even read, so I´m excited for that. We also after teaching them asked them to be baptized once they knew for themselves and they said yes! We´re super excited for them and are praying hard for them. Our other investigator with a baptism date, A, we have not been able to get ahold of him at all, so we´ve had to drop his date until we can get ahold of him again. E is moving along great! We´ve taught him basically all of the lessons and he has such a desire to be baptized. He´s one of those people that the Lord truly prepares to receive the gospel. The only thing holding him back, is that he needs to attend church the next two weeks in order for him to keep this date, so please pray for him to do this.
We went to Palos again on Saturday and taught V a lesson and I think he really felt the Spirit, even though it´s really hard to communicate things to him sometimes. We have to teach in basic terms because he doesn´t completely understand everything. That day, I had called on the phone all of the people that we had met that first week in Palos and asked them to meet us that night. The miracle is that every single one of them showed up. C, M, V, M, S, D, and J. It was an amazing experience to be able to teach all of them about the Restoration and about Baptism. They were all very accepting of it. There were some that have been there the past couple of weeks that weren´t too interested in it before, but this week they seemed to listen more to what we were saying. J even committed to be baptized on the 21st of March! The others that have not yet decided if they want that want to learn more before they do anything, so every single one of them wants us to come back more and teach them, so we´re going to go to Palos every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It is definitely worth the trip and money though. All of these men came about from our dear friend, E, who did missionary work before he was even a member. It´s amazing the people that the Lord places in your path as you try your best to serve him. That was our huge miracle of the week and I am so excited to talk about it.
Anywho, we went to Sevilla again for Stake Conference this weekend, which was really great! There was a really good talk given by the area seventy about enduring to the end. Speaking of which, has anyone done what I challenged last week in my letter? I know that if you try your best to do this, the Lord will help you. I´m praying for you!
Thank you everyone for everything that you do! I love you all!!
Con amor, Hermana Shanda Rowley

Monday, February 16, 2015

Another glorious week in Spain

Sorry I wasn´t able to write much last week, I didn´t have much time. I´m so excited to hear that I have a new nephew, Cam Aaron Rowley!! Congratulations Mike and Rose! I´m a little sad that I won´t get to see him for a while, but all is well. I´m also a little sad to miss out on the homecoming of my awesome brothers, Devin and Derrick! They´ve been serving the Lord for the past two years in Tennessee and Mississippi and now have returned home with honor. It´s really cool that they were able to come home on the same day though! I´m sad that I´m missing out on all of these exciting events, but I know that I´m where I´m supposed to be at this time and I am serving our Heavenly Father with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.
This letter probably isn´t going to be very detailed because I normally use my journal to remember everything, but I forgot it...I´ll try though. The past two weeks have been pretty great. My Spanish is improving poco a poco (little by little). My companion is great though and helps me a lot. My district leader, asked me to teach Gospel Principles yesterday...about 20 minutes Spanish...I was terrified. Especially when E. Landinez said that there probably wouldn´t be hardly anyone there, but this ended up being the biggest class since I´ve been here with 13 people there. We normally only have about 7-8 people. It actually turned out not too bad. There was a lot of participation and before I knew it, 45 min. had passed by. We didn´t have any investigators at church yesterday, not next week (because we have Stake Conference), but the week after we´re going to try and get a lot of them there, especially those preparing for baptism.
I told you all about E, who has a baptism date, which was for the 21st, but has now been moved to the 14th of March. Remember the one friend of Eric´s that came to church, V.? Well...he also has a baptism date! We still have a lot to teach him, but I hope that he finds out for himself that this is the right path. We were able to meet with this "antiguo", which means just an old investigator, A, and I guess in the past he would cancel a lot of the citas and just wouldn´t follow through with commitments and so the past missionaries dropped him, but we met with him once and had another cita set up for the following week. The day came to meet him and he called us when it was about an hour before the cita, but when we answered, we didn´t hear anything and our phone was about to die, so we just decided to go and meet where we had planned anyway. We tried calling him back but it wasn´t working and then our phone died, so we just waited for him and he came! He told us that he was going to cancel on us, but his phone was being weird, so he came anyway. We taught him Lesson 3, The Gospel of Jesus Christ and asked him to be baptized, and he said yes!!!!! We´re going to meet with him again this week, but we´re definitely praying for him to follow through with it. So...on Saturday, we had some citas set up with some people in Palos, a little pueblo about 1/2 an hour bus ride away, but we didn´t get off at the right stop and didn´t get to Palos until 7:00 when we planned on being there at 5:30...Palos is where most of Eric´s friend´s from Camaroon and Ghana live that we met a couple of weeks ago. We were able to teach two lessons though, and one of them was to C. Like most of the people from Africa, he´s the only one here in his family, but we taught him the Restoration and about baptism and he said he would be baptized!! It´s so exciting!! I know that as these four people take this big step in their lives, that they can feel the difference and I know that they´ll receive many blessings because of it. I just ask that you all pray for all four of these people, because each one of them is so very important.
My companion said that this is the hardest area that she´s been in and she has 3 months left. It´s picking up a little bit though. I just ask for the continued prayers on our behalf and for the people and members here in Huelva. We can feel your prayers and can see the blessings we receive from them. I want to challenge every single one of you that reads this to do something. I challenge you to someone that is not a member to do something that would bring them closer to knowing our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Whether it be asking them to read The Family: A Proclamation to the World, reading the Book of Mormon, inviting them to church or a ward activity, etc., whatever it may be I challenge each and every one of you to do it and if and when you do, I would love to hear how it went. I know it´s hard sometimes. I´m a missionary. I know. But I also know that when you trust in God and put forth the effort and show him that you are willing to do what he asks, he will bless you with experiences that will either grow your testimony or someone else´s or even both. Involve the missionaries if you can also. They can be a huge help in accomplising this. Thank you all so much for being such great examples to me!
I love receiving e-mails from everyone and thank you to those that do write. It means so much to me, and I know I say this every week in every letter, but it´s the truth. I love you all and hope you all have a fantastic week!
Con mucho amor, Hermana Shanda Rowley

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 2 in Huelva

Aloha everyone!! How is everything going?? This past week was abolutely fantastic! Sorry if my e-mails are just all over the place, I just don´t know how to connect everything smoothly. :) So...the only fast food places that they have here are McDonald´s and Burger King. They have a ton of banks and Chino stores just all over the place. The cars here are supposed to stop for pedestrians no matter what, so I felt really close to getting run over a couple of times when my companion just walks out into the street. It´s exhilarating. We walk around a lot, but we also ride the bus a lot too. I haven´t eaten much more home cooked food yet, but the stuff that I have had is pretty safe. Lot´s of chicken, bread, potatoes, etc. They really like to drink soda here though, at least from the limited choices of soda that they have, namely Coca-Cola and Fanta. All is great though!
Wednesday, we had a day called Dia de Diamante, which is Day of Diamonds. It was a day set aside for the whole mission to just contact people ALL DAY. The goal of the mission was to get 2015 future investigators in one day and we ended up getting 2446. It was a really great day! We were able to talk to a lot of people and share the gospel with them. It was an exhausting day, but very accomplishing. I can´t wait to meet with some of these people.
On Monday, we met this guy on the street and set up a cita (visit/appointment/date) to talk to him on Tuesday and he did and he committed to be BAPTIZED!! So we have a baptism date for E. on the 21 of February! Please keep him in your prayers because he is golden. He´s also being a missionary already...he took us to see some of his friends in Palos(a little pueblo about 30 min. away) and we went to their house and there was about two of them that we were teaching and then one more came in, and then two more came in, and soon enough we had a roomful of golden investigators from Camaroon and they all took a Book of Mormon and wanted us to come back, so were going back next week to teach them again. One of those guys, V., actually came to church yesterday too so it´s really exciting! the work is starting to pick up!
Last night we called a lot of our futures and set up citas with almost all of them! I can´t wait to see how everything works out! We teach piano and English classes every Friday at the church and that´s one of the techniques we´ve tried using when contacting people on the street, but we didn´t have anyone new come this past week, but all´s good.
The bad part of the week is that I was sick for about half of it...I stayed in bed all day for one of the days and last night my eye was really hurting me and we called the mission nurse and she said that I might have pink eye, which I really hoped was not the case, but my eye is a lot better today and I´m feeling great! I really appreciate the e-mails from everyone and I hope to continue recieving them! Have a great week!
Love, Hermana Rowley